NW Quadrant, West of Rock Creek, Cleveland Park, Federal Government Employees, Radicals, Spies, Translators, Also of Interest

Sigmund Skard
(July 31, 1903 - May 26, 1995)

3704 33rd Place NW, Cleveland Park neighborhood, DC.

A poet, essayist and professor of literature, Skard lived in exile in Washington, DC during the Nazi occupation of Norway. He worked first at the Library of Congress and then as a head of Norwegian divisionof the Office of War Information.

After his war-time experience he became a committed Americanist, founding the American Institute at the University of Oslo and authoring the two-volume American Studies in Europe: Their Development and Present Organization (1958) The United States in Norwegian History (1976) and Transatlantica: Memories of a Norwegian Americanist (1978). He authored 13 books of his own poetry and in Under nye stjerner/UnderNew Stars (1960) Skard translated a number of American poets including Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Langston Hughes, Robert Lowell, Archibald MacLeish, Theodore Roethke, Wallace Stevens, and William Carlos Williams.

In 1983 he received the prestigious Arts Council Norway Honorary Award and the 1992 Brage Honorary Prize.

Skard's family fled to the United States via Sweden, the Soviet Union, Japan, and Panama. They lived in this house for five years. The household consisted of Skard, his wife Åse Gruda Skard, a pioneering child psychologist and editor, and two sets of twins: girls Målfrid Grude Flekkøy and Torild Skard; and boys Halfdan Skard and Asmund Skard. A fifth child, Anne Skard was born while living in Washington. The Skard children led prolific lives as prominent academics, doctors, and politicians in Norway.